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Tonight Santa comesDecember 31, 2016

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He’ll arrive in a similar style and with an much magic as he did on December the 25th, but here Santa comes on new years eve. Adam is still blissfully unaware, he’s unconstrained by dates, he had many an unopened present left on Christmas day, the whole shebang means little to his world. As aspects creep in we are deliberating what Christmas will mean to our family. I like the idea that Santa comes on a different day, that the birth of the saviour and the flying reindeer are separated somewhat.

This years Christmas for me was a stripped back affair. Slowly as the years have passed I’ve had to choose what events I’ll keep up with and which will knock my ‘feeling Christmassy’ by their absence. This year for the first in many I had no church family to return to, something that left my pillow damp many a night. There was no nativity, I neglected to even make a crib scene, I sang no carols prior to Christmas day, and entered no church building during advent. On Christmas morning our family entered a strange church with a warm welcome that wiped much fear and lifted more than a few prayers of thanks from my lips.

I did celebrate advent, delving deep into the big story that weaves it’s way through Abraham, Isaiah, John and Mary to the child that flails in it’s straw lined manger. As years pass I find myself clinging more and more to the church year, a calendar of faith that spins with as much certainty as the Gregorian system we use. In a land of multiple calendars, to choose to follow yet another must seem very odd. Somehow it roots me, even if it makes major church celebrations harder to engage with locally.

In just a week we’ll be once again celebrating the saviours birth as the world I grew up in will be reaching day 13 and wiping clean all traces of Christmas. Somehow this elongated season is much closer to the church year than the ‘big day’ concentrated one I was so familiar with. It’s something I’d come to appreciate long before this years word focus, it’s a season where the baby is born and the celebration continues, we are not so eager for him to grow old and walk to Calvary, rather we sit in the moment and like a new mother stare at the gift we have been given.

So 2016 ends. A year I’ve tried to ‘appreciate’, though moments of joy and times of struggle, though things I could control and aspects beyond me. It’s been a great word for the year and one I’ve found much growth in. 2017 dawns and I’ve already chosen the word that will adorn the year – Invest. I want to invest in building our own traditions, invest in the lives of those around me, invest in the objects we keep and the space we keep them in, invest in long term plans and fleeting seconds. But today I’ll sit and appreciate my little world as the new year rings in around me. Happy New year friends.

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